Julia Law, the Philadelphia paralegal found dead in a bathtub in the home of her boss and high-profile attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. over the weekend, may have died from drowning after suffering from a seizure, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Law, a 26-year-old paralegal, was found dead in the tub in an apartment owned by Peruto, who may have also been her lover, according to various media reports.
Investigators told the Inquirer that Law was frothing at the mouth, which may be a sign that she had a seizure. But an official cause of death for the Philadelphia paralegal has not been given; authorities are still awaiting the results of toxicology reports. However, no drugs or alcohol was found in the bathroom where Law was found dead.
Peruto, a prominent Philadelphia attorney known for representing mob clients, told police that he wasn’t at the apartment at the time of Law’s death. He told authorities that he went to the Jersey Shore with friends, and that Law texted him late Friday night.
The attorney learned of his paralegal’s death Saturday morning. He rushed to the apartment and was distraught, a friend and associate at Peruto’s law practice told the Inquirer.
The attorney released this statement about Law’s death:
“Julia was a beautiful, caring free spirit hippy, who I was blessed to have known. Words can’t express how sad I am to finally have met someone who I believed truly loved me. You should all have someone touch your life, like she did mine. Pray for her. She was an angel.”
Law’s body was reportedly discovered by Peruto’s maintenance man, according to NBC Philadelphia.
"The first thing I did was call 9-1-1 and police showed up. I then went to homicide to give my accounts of what happened," the maintenance man told the news station. He did not give his name.
There’s been no confirmation that Law and Peruto were in a relationship, but the prominent Philadelphia lawyer wrote about how close he was to his paralegal in a post on his Facebook page that referenced her death.
"It's very hard to find someone who really matches you on all eight cylinders," he wrote, according to NBC Philadelphia. "I found my soulmate hippy, and can never replace her. We worked and played, and never got enough life. I'm grateful we made every minute count, without a single dispute about anything ever. I'm especially sad for her 10-year-old brother, who was her life, along with her loving and close sisters, mother and step-father. Earth lost the best one ever. Happy birthday baby."
Law would have turned 27 years old on Tuesday.
One of Peruto’s neighbors defended the lawyer against those who claimed the attorney had something to do with Law’s death. Peruto has not been charged, nor has he been named a suspect in the paralegal’s death, which hasn’t even been classified as a crime so far.
“This is not a crime, it’s a tragedy. Until someone tells me otherwise, there’s no proof of foul play or crime. It could be a million things,” neighbor Pamela McCarthy told ABC News.